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Expo 2020 Dubai hosts World Expo governing body

posted on 26/03/2015

Expo 2020 Dubai has welcomed Secretary General, Vicente Loscertales, from the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the governing body of World Expos.

This is an official visit by the Secretary General to discuss the approaching submission of the Expo 2020 Dubai Registration Document, an official stage for the certification of Dubai as the host city for the World Expo in 2020.

Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State, Board Representative of the Dubai Expo 2020 Higher Committee and Director General, Bureau Dubai Expo 2020 and Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director-General of Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing; CEO of Dubai World Trade Centre; and Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee Member, welcomed the BIE Secretary General in Dubai, his first visit in 2015.

"Delivering a transformative World Expo requires maintaining a close and collaborative partnership with the BIE, and we welcome their institutional guidance and support to confirm Expo 2020 Dubai is on a productive and efficient road to 2020. We are confident that our Registration Document, which we will submit during the summer of 2015, will be comprehensive and clearly represent the depth of research, outreach and planning that the team has undertaken and how Dubai will produce an extraordinary World Expo," said Al Hashimy.

During the visit, the BIE was updated on progress of all key elements associated to the mega-event. As part of the mandatory BIE Registration Phase, important technical matters connected with Expo 2020 Dubai were discussed.

"We are pleased with the progress the Expo 2020 Dubai team is making and they have our full support and commitment to ensure it is on course to present a global platform, address global challenges, and leverage the convening power of previous and upcoming World Expos, including Expo 2015 Milano which opens on May 1st," said Loscertales. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


National Geographic invites photographers to participate in Abu Dhabi Moments Awards competition

posted on 26/03/2015

National Geographic Abu Dhabi is inviting photographers from around the region to participate in the fifth edition of the National Geographic Abu Dhabi Moments Awards. The competition, which has grown from strength to strength, has demonstrated great enthusiasm, talent and affinity towards photography from the Arab region, and over the past four years has attracted over 154,000 entries.

The theme in 2015 is 'Arab Cities: The City through Your Eyes'. The winning photographer should be able to share his personal journey in one fluid image while he captures this inspirational theme. This competition encourages photographers to go beyond simply taking a photograph, participants should dig deep into their creativity and tell a story that tugs at the hearts-strings.

"We want to engage with our viewers at all levels and this competition is the perfect platform to showcase young talent in the Arab region and support our neighbour countries by featuring the beauty that they hold," said, Sanjay Raina, General Manager, Fox International Channels Middle East. "Our content is geared towards featuring Arab talent, with local programming which represents and promotes Arab cities in all their beauty," he added.

Entries will be judged by a team of experts, including Alsaad Omar Almenhali, Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic Abu Dhabi Al Arabiya, Hussam Abdulqader, Head of Communications and PR, Almarai Company, and Randy Olson, Award Winning Photographer, specialising in editorial, commercial and advertising photography.

In addition to having their photograph featured in National Geographic Abu Dhabi Al Arabiya Magazine, this year's winner will win a photography hamper to the value of US$7,500 and a photography expedition to Tanzania, one of the most popular African safari destinations in the world. The trip will be an 11 day photo safari expedition where the winner can have the opportunity to witness some of the world's most spectacular environments.

Second and third place winners will also be chosen to receive photography hampers to the value of US$5,000 and US$2,500 respectively.

"I am very excited to be judging the National Geographic Abu Dhabi Moments Awards for the first time," said Award Winning Photographer, Randy Olson. "There is so much creative talent in the Arab region, and I am looking forward to experiencing each city through the eyes of the photographer. I really want this year's entrants to tell me a story, I am looking for a very personal, unique perspective of each entrant's city," he added.

"Almarai is keen to continue supporting Arab talent by partnering with National Geographic Abu Dhabi for the third consecutive year. This is a unique opportunity for us to see the beauty of our cities through an individual perspective and share it across this incredible platform," said Hussam Abdulqader, Head of Communications and PR, Almarai Company.

Alsaad Omar Almenhali said that it is impossible to visit a city without it leaving a special memory in your heart. "It stays in your heart even when you visit other cities. When you reminisce about that city, you are reminded of its smell, colour and taste. That is why I'm very excited to see the pictures that will be submitted in the National Geographic Abu Dhabi Moments contest. I want to see the Arab cities through the eyes of the photographers and their camera lenses." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Dubai Airports’ Earth Hour campaign targets energy savings of 230,000 kWh

posted on 26/03/2015

Dubai Airports' 24-day switch-off in the run-up to Earth Hour on March 28th will save an estimated 230,000 kWh in energy – enough to power an average home for approximately 15 years, which is equivalent to 159 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions.

The campaign has involved the switching off of all non-essential lights at Dubai International and Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central for an hour every day since March 5th. The hour-long switch off does not affect essential facilities within the airport to ensure the safety and comfort of customers and smooth operations.

Phil Blum, SVP Enterprise Assurance at Dubai Airports, said, "This is the seventh consecutive year of our participation in this important global event, and the second year of our 24-day long green initiative. While the direct outcome in terms of energy savings is considerable and positive, the campaign's real objective is creating awareness among the thousands of people who are part of the workforce across the airport and the hundreds of thousands of passengers that pass through our terminals every day."

To spread the message even wider, Dubai Airports has organised entertainment events and activities with an environmental theme for employees and their families on March 28th at Zabeel Park. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Sultan Bin Tahnoon launches re-designed ADNEC website

posted on 26/03/2015

Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport and Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company, ADNEC, has officially launched ADNEC's re-designed corporate website that reflects the company's new branding and identity.

The special launch ceremony of the portal was attended by Ali Saeed Bin Harmal, Managing Director of ADNEC and Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, Acting Group CEO of ADNEC.

The re-designed website offers greater social media and customer engagement features. The user-friendly interface makes browsing easier and more intuitive whether visitors access the website from their computers, mobile phones or any other digital devices. Browsers can benefit from a wide range of e-services as well as interactive and informative features offered at ADNEC's three event venues in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and London.

Detailed information on the group's different exhibition venues, convention centres and special event halls, including their geographical location and coordinates, can be accessed via the new portal. Customers browsing through the website can also benefit from the advance booking facility offered at ADNEC's various venues. Additionally, visitors from outside Abu Dhabi can make hotel and restaurant reservations and taxi bookings or request airline services.

In addition to important information on the ADNEC Group as well as its subsidiaries, the website highlights the leading role played by the company in supporting the growing Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing, Exhibitions, MICE, sector in Abu Dhabi. The portal also provides insights on ADNEC's strategic partners spanning various trade and economic sectors.

Commenting on the new website, Sheikh Sultan said, "Our corporate website has been given a facelift to achieve better integration and communication with our stakeholders, while creating an efficient e-platform to provide information and features on a wide range of industry issues. We believe the new-look website serves the objectives and requirements of all those concerned with the MICE industry, including event visitors, organisers and exhibitors."

Ali Saeed Bin Harmal said, "Through integrating latest technology into every day operations, ADNEC seeks to support the Abu Dhabi government's efforts to improve the performance of government entities towards delivering best-in-class services for both public and private sector customers."

Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri said that the redesigned corporate website was aligned to ADNEC's strategic plan that aims to optimise the overall customer experience and exceed customer satisfaction levels through leveraging the seamless possibilities created by rapid advancements in Information Technology. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Abu Dhabi unveils routes of Abu Dhabi Tour

posted on 26/03/2015

Seeking to position itself as one of the world's premier sports destinations, Abu Dhabi yesterday unveiled the routes of the inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour in attendance of H.H. Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation, and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Sports Council.

Held under a partnership agreement between Abu Dhabi Sports Council and RCS Sports and Events, one of the race organisers, the 8-11 October race set to host an international Cycling race to celebrate the completion of the 2015 WorldTour.

The race route will cover a total of 555km with three flat stages and a mountain finish to Jebel Hafeet. The climb to the finish line is 11km long and climbs of nearly 1000 metres of elevation, with one point of the climb at 12 per cent.

The four stages will visit different parts of Abu Dhabi, touching the coastline but also the inland desert area.

Stage 1 on October 8 is over 175km and passes along the edge of Rub al Khaki desert between Qasr Al Sarab to Madinat Zayed.

Stage 2 on October 9 is only 130km long and visits much of the city centre.

The October 10 stage 3 mountain finish will be 140km and pan flat for most of the day but ends with an 11km climb that has an average gradient of 7.5 per cent and has one corner at 12 per cent. There is a 1.5km descent before a final climb to the finish.

The inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour ends with a 110km circuit stage around the Yas Marina motor racing circuit.

Aref Hamad Al Awani, the General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said in a press conference that Abu Dhabi is establishing itself as a world capital that can attract championships inclu8ded in calendars of international sports federations.

"Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates. It is also, and increasingly, an international capital for sport, hosting a great many world-class events. In recent years, cycling has been the focus of great development in the United Arab Emirates and the Abu Dhabi Sports Council is proud to expand its portfolio of events with a race whose future is certain and whose potential is unlimited,' he said.

'We are looking forward to add a valuable hallmark to the race to ensure its return to Abu Dhabi in the years to come in light of the UAE's increasing attention for the cycling games,' he added. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Arab League, Arab Family Organisation honour Sheikha Fatima

posted on 26/03/2015

A high-profile delegation of women leaders from the UAE, Arab and world organisations, has delivered the Pendant of Family Happiness to H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union (GWU), Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF) and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, at al-Bahr Palace yesterday.

The Pendant was conferred on Sheikha Fatima by the Arab League and Arab Family Organisation in recognition of her initiatives and diligent efforts in addressing the Arab women issues, and ensuring family welfare.

Among others present were H.H. Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, wife of Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region, Sheikha Al Yazia bint Saif bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, wife of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, Sheikha Aisha bint Suhail Al Ketbi, Sheikha Latifa bint Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, wife of Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The event was also attended by Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development, Mariam bint Mohammed Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of Social Affairs, Dr. Maytha bint Salem Al Shamsi, Minister of State, Hind Al Subaih, Kuwait's Minister of Social Affairs and Labour, Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi, Director-General of Abu Dhabi Education Council, Enas Makkawi, Manager of the Directorate of Women, Family, and Childhood at the Arab League, other senior officials and dignitaries.

While receiving the delegation, Sheikha Fatima thanked the Arab League and the Arab Family Organisation over conferring the Pendant of Family Happiness on her, adding that the honour reflects the League and Organisation's keenness regarding the concept and value of family in building communities.

She added that the family in the UAE enjoys support from President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Their Highnesses Rulers of Emirates.

Sheikha Fatima said that the UAE leadership does not spare any effort to care for the family, being a nucleus for the UAE community. She referred to the global top ranking of the UAE people as world's happiest people. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


In today's world, power is shifting from nation states to non-state actors: UAE MP

posted on 26/03/2015

ADDIS ABABA: The forces of globalisation and revolutions of Information and communications technology (ICT), sciences and media have transformed the concept of a nation state into a net nation, a UAE woman MP has said.

'Financial, business, commercial, information technology and media networks have determined the real status quo in countries of the world and therefore it is the foreign institutions rather than governments that define management of national economy. Consequently, globalisation has reshaped the balance of power between the states, civil society and markets,' Dr. Muna Al Bahr, member of the Federal National Council (FNC) told the Women in Parliaments Global Forum (WIP), which commenced at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

More than 400 female Parliamentarians coming from more than 100 countries are gathering to discuss innovative policies and address the major global challenges that the world faces today. The Agenda of the WIP Summit 2015 "New Leadership for Global Challenges" featured plenary sessions on the post-2015 development agenda and the redefinition of leadership; parallel sessions on entrepreneurship, regional cooperation, health and education; working groups organised by international organisations such as the United Nations or the World Bank; and media training for female Parliamentarians.

Speaking at the Plenary Session Panel: The End of Power – Redefining Leadership, Dr. Al Bahr said that businessmen, international organisations, NGOs and media have become key partners to the governments in economic, political, social and security roles.

She called for developing new innovative patterns through which states team up with markets and civil society to deal with the new political reality in the world.

'These new models should strike a balance between the political and economic aspects on one hand and the social aspect on the other.

Organisers say in the world as we know it today, power is shifting from nation states to non-state actors and from institutions to less formal networks. The exercise of traditional power is constrained as established "big players" are being challenged by "small players." The tools to shape and influence the world have changed with emerging new technologies, allowing people to exercise direct influence. This fast changing environment calls for a new type of flexible, innovative leadership which offers an opportunity for different styles of governance.

The UAE MP also participated in a panel on 'Building blocks to a new world: Aligning Post 2015 and Beijing+20 processes,' organised by UN Women and UNDP. This working group explored the possibilities of streamlining implementation processes of the post 2015 stand-alone goal on Gender Equality with the Actions of the Beijing Platform. This session further explored the role of female Parliamentarians in monitoring and providing stable implementation mechanisms, building on the outcomes of the 59th session of the Commission of the Status of Women conference in New York in March 2015. She also engaged in the Working Group on 'The role of parliamentary networks.' Dr. Al Bahr also signed The Call to Action which declares 2015 a momentous year for gender equality and women's empowerment. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Khalifa sends condolence cable to German President

posted on 26/03/2015

President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has sent a cable of condolences to the President of Germany, Joachim Gauck, over the victims of the Germanwings airplane which crashed in the French Alps with 150 people on board.

Sheikh Khalifa expressed sympathy with the families of the victims. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Abdullah bin Zayed receives Belgian Deputy Premier

posted on 26/03/2015

ABU DHABI, 26th March, 2015 (WAM) -- Foreign Minister H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan received here yesterday Didier Reynders, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs.

Sheikh Abdullah welcomed the Belgian official's visit to the UAE which comes as part of the efforts to enhance relations between the two friendly countries. He praised the growing cooperation and strong partnership between the UAE and Belgium, particularly in economic fields.

Reynders lauded the progress made by the UAE since the federation was created 43 years ago.

Sheikh Abdullah and Reynders discussed current regional and international developments and issues of mutual interest and those of concern to the security of the Middle East and Europe.

Present were Khalid Ghanim Al Ghaith, Assistant Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs and Sulaiman Hamed Salem Al Mazrouei, UAE Ambassador to Belgium.

UAE and Belgium established diplomatic relations in 1973 when the latter opened an embassy office in the UAE and appointed the first ambassador in 1975. The UAE opened its embassy in Brussels in 1976.

Belgium features among the UAE's top 11 trade partners and the 3rd largest market for re-exports from the UAE.

During his visit to Belgium in 2013, Sheikh Abdullah and Didier Reynders signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Political Consultations, expressing the two countries' wish to strengthen the existing bilateral relations and cooperation through establishing mechanism on political consultations. It also recognises the importance of coordinating the bilateral relations and regional and international issues of common interest between the two states.

They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Creating a Joint Committee for Cooperation between the Government of the United Arab Emirates and the Government of the Kingdom of Belgium. The MoU expressed their belief in strengthening the existing ties between the two countries, and their desire to build on and promote the bilateral relations in all fields seeking to meet the common goals of the two friendly countries.

Currently, a Belgian delegation comprising over 400 businessmen and women, led by HRH Princess Astrid of Belgium, representative of His Majesty the King Philippe of Belgium, began on Tuesday a three-day trade mission to the UAE.

Members of the delegation met with senior officials from the UAE government, Mubadala Development Company, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, ADNOC, Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce, ADCC, Abu Dhabi and Water and Electricity Authority, ADWEA, Dubai Chamber of Commerce, DP World, Dubai World Central, and Dubai Expo 2020.

The delegation also participated in working sessions and seminars with public and private sector stakeholders from across the UAE during the course of their visit.

The visiting delegation will hold a series of meetings aimed at strengthening the UAE-Belgium bilateral relationship, expanding economic ties and cooperation, and promoting opportunities for further cooperation in the finance, healthcare, energy, tourism, pharmaceutical, logistics, construction and sustainable technologies sectors. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Hazza bin Zayed receives representative of King of Belgium

posted on 26/03/2015

H.H. Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Advisor and Deputy Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, received here yesterday the representative of His Majesty King Philippe of Belgium, HRH Princess Astrid, who is heading a Belgian business delegation on a visit to the UAE.

Sheikh Hazza welcomed Princess Astrid and her accompanying delegation and praised the progressive ties of friendship and cooperation between the UAE and Belgium.

Sheikh Hazza discussed with Princess Astrid ways to enhance bilateral relations, particularly in economic and commercial fields, as well as exchange of expertise in different domains.

Also discussed were the latest regional and international developments and issues of mutual interest.

Princess Astrid expressed thanks for the warm hospitality accorded to her and to the delegation members in the UAE. She said her country was keen on developing relations of friendship and cooperation with the UAE.

The meeting was attended by Ali Majid Al Mansouri, Chairman of the Department of Economic Development, Abdullah bin Nasser Al Suwaidi, Director General of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, Sulaiman Hamed Al Mazrouei, UAE Ambassador to Belgium and Saif Ahmed Al Muhairi, Director of the Office of H.H. Deputy Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council.

From the Belgian side, it was attended by Didier Reynders, Federal Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Belgian Ambassador Dominique Mineur. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Belgian Foreign Minister visits Hedayah Centre

posted on 26/03/2015

Didier Reynders, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, along with a high-level Belgian delegation have visited Hedayah, the International Centre of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism (CVE). The meeting also included a lunch held in the honour of the esteemed visitors. The visiting delegation is part of the 400-strong Belgian trade mission visit to the UAE, led by the HRH Princess Astrid of Belgium.

The purpose of the visit was to introduce Hedayah and the Centre's values, mission, vision, priorities and its achievements thus far. He commended the leading role the United Arab Emirates, the host country, in supporting the establishment of Hedayah since its launch in December 2012. Maqsoud Kruse, the Executive Director of Hedayah, led a roundtable discussion and an exchange of views on current CVE challenges and upcoming initiatives in place to tackle them, particularly in Europe. He also highlighted the crucial role of Hedayah along with the international community in preventing violent extremism with the support of UAE and other member states of the Global Counter Terrorism Forum (GCTF).

Reynders and the members of the delegation praised the continuous efforts of Hedayah to CVE both regionally and on an international level, particularly CVE through Communications by hosting the first CVE Global Communications EXPO. They have also expressed its appreciation for and satisfaction with the educational, cultural, scientific, informational and urban development activities witnessed by the UAE.

"This visit reflects the vital role Hedayah plays as an independent and international platform for experts and government officials to exchange expertise and best practices in CVE. Hedayah is a "Think & Do Tank" and this visit highlights a step forward to future collaborations between Hedayah and the related Belgian authorities", said Kruse.

Reynders and the members of the delegation ended their visit with a tour around Hedayah facilities to include the Main Conference Rooms, the workstation, the Library, the Screening Room and the Training Rooms. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Abu Dhabi Chamber discusses importance of expanding economic and investment cooperation with Belgium

posted on 26/03/2015

Mohammed Thani Murshid Al-Rumaithi, Chairman of the Federation of the UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has called on Belgian industrial companies to build strategic partnerships with Emirati industrial companies, especially in the sectors that are listed in the development plans of Abu Dhabi and the UAE.

During an extended meeting with a Belgian economic mission led by Princess Astrid of Belgium, who is representing the King of Belgium, Mr. Al-Rumaithi said that the economic and investment cooperation relations between the UAE and Belgium have witnessed positive development over the past few years.

He noted that the total volume of trade exchange between the two sides reached Dh7.7 billion by the end of 2013, adding that many Belgian companies operate in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and contribute to the comprehensive and sustainable economic and social development process in the emirate. He also extended his praise and appreciation to these companies for their efforts and positive contribution to the development process in Abu Dhabi.

Al-Rumaithi emphasised the readiness of the Abu Dhabi Chamber to support industry and trade with Belgian companies desirous of establishing economic and investment cooperation relations with Emirati companies operating in Abu Dhabi.

Princess Astrid said that there is great interest from Belgian companies from all sectors to increase their presence in the UAE markets and increase their cooperation with Emirati companies as well as supporting the economic and social development process in the UAE.

The Princess called on companies, businessmen and investors in the UAE to boost their investments in Belgium and benefit from the available investment opportunities in a number of pivotal sectors.

After the meeting, the Abu Dhabi Chamber and Brussels Enterprises Commerce and Industry, BECI, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to increase and widen the scope of economic and investment cooperation between the Abu Dhabi Chamber, the operating companies in Abu Dhabi and the Belgian companies.

Mohammed Helal Al-Muhairi, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Chamber, and Mrs. Sabine Soetens, International Business Development Manager at BECI, signed the Memorandum on behalf of their respective organisations. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Foreign trade of Abu Dhabi Emirate constitutes 65.5% of its GDP

posted on 26/03/2015

The foreign trade of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi constitutes about 65.4% of the GDP of the Emirate, i.e. Dh953.24 billion, according to preliminary estimates of the year 2013, where the value increased to Dh623.16 billion, a growth rate of 3.75% compared to 2012.

The economic report of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi 2014, issued by the Studies Division in the Department of Economic Development in Abu Dhabi, highlighted the continued commodity exchange between the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and other countries across the world in its various forms (import, export and re-export) as one of the main pillars of economic development of the emirate, leading to improving the standard of living and economic well-being of the emirate through providing goods, capital equipment and production requirements by importing, marketing and selling its products through export.

The report stated that the figures and statistics highlight the distinguished status of the foreign trade in Abu Dhabi's economy which enhances the process of economic development, noting that the value of commodity exports of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi (including oil exports) amounted to about Dh522.9 billion during 2013, which reflects an increase by 8.57% compared to 2012. 93.8% of this value, i.e. Dh490.46 billion, resulted from oil exports that have increased by 8.6% compared to 2012.

The report noted that the non-oil exports of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, amounting to Dh16 billion in 2013, reflecting an increase of 3.8% compared to 2012, noting that the non-oil exports increased by 34.3% between 2011 and 2012. Re-exports have increased by 11.6% compared to 2012 and amounted to Dh16.45 billion.

The report pointed to a decrease of 15.7% in the imports of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, which amounted to Dh100.25 billion in 2013 compared to Dh118.97 billion in 2012.

44% of the imports of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, amounting to Dh44.5 billion, is machinery and transport equipment (according to the Standard International Trade Classification); 24.5% of the same, amounting to Dh24.6 billion, are manufactured goods classified by material and 9.5%, amounting to Dh9.5 billion, are chemical products. Food and live animals imports amounted to Dh7.7 billion, while inedible raw materials imports amounted to Dh7.5 billion. Inedible, except fuels, up to Dh7.5 billion and manufactured imports amounted to Dh4.2 billion.

The report highlights the continued high rates of exports over imports in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi during the period (2008-2013), noting that the highest rate of exports over imports was in 2013, with a very high rate exceeding 521%. The main reason behind this very high rate is the increase of oil exports over imports with a rate of 489% in 2013, in addition to an improvement in the non-oil exports (with re-export) over imports, with a rate of 32.4% in 2013 compared to a rate of 25.4% in 2012.

The report noted that the trade balance of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi recorded a high surplus in 2013, amounting to Dh422.6 billion compared to Dh362.6 billion in 2012, i.e. an increase of 16.5%. This increase comes due to the high percentage of oil exports in foreign trade, and the relatively stable prices of oil in the world market during 2013.

As for strategic partners, the report stated that for the third consecutive year no change occurred in the first and second places on the list of trading partners of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in the field of commodity non-oil trade, which reflects the stability of the economic and trade relations of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi with its partners. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, ranking in first place with a total trade of Dh21.7 billion in the year 2013, i.e. about 16.4% of the total non-oil trade of the emirate, reflected an increase in the relative importance of its share compared to 12.37% of the total non-oil trade of the Emirate in 2012.

The United States has maintained its second place position, with an amount of Dh13.2 billion, approximately 9.95% of the total non-oil trade of the Emirate, which reflects no significant change in the relative importance of its share, compared with 9.71% of non-oil trade of the Emirate in 2012.

The absence of South Korea from the list of top 10 trading partners of the emirate in 2013 was noteworthy after it was ranked third during 2012 and 2011. It was replaced in third place by Japan, with a total trade amounting to Dh8.32 billion after it was ranked fifth in 2012. Germany has maintained its fourth place with a total commodity trade of Dh8.09 billion in 2013 and China was ranked fifth with Dh6.43 billion.

Regarding trading partners of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in exports, a continuous change in the states in the top ranking positions has been noted in recent years. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which ranked second in 2012, became first in 2013 with non-oil exports amounting to Dh6.67 billion, i.e. a very high rate of acquisition reaching 41.7% of the total non-oil exports of Abu Dhabi. China, who ranked first in 2012, became second in 2013 with non-oil exports amounting to Dh2.19 billion, i.e. 13.7% of the total non-oil exports of Abu Dhabi, compared to Dh4.05 billion in 2012, i.e. 26.3% of the total non-oil exports of Abu Dhabi.

India has continued its progress and ranked third with a rate of 6.3% of the total non-oil exports of Abu Dhabi after it was ranked fourth in 2012 and fifth in 2011.

With regard to the trading partners in the field of re-exports, the top four states have maintained their positions during the last three years, with the Kingdom of Bahrain ranking first with a rate of 20.6% of the total re-exports of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, reflecting a decrease from 26.3% in 2012 and 29.6% in 2011. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia maintained its position in second place with a rate of 20.3% of the total exports, representing an increase from 17.4% in 2012 and 13.8% in 2011.

Qatar maintained third place, with a rate of 15.3% in 2013, and Kuwait maintained its fourth place with 13.1% of the re-exports.

As for non-GCC countries, Singapore ranked fifth after it increased its share by 3.4% of the re-exports compared to 2012, while Jordan's rate has decreased by 2.9% in 2013 compared to 2012.

The United States maintains its top position of trading partners in the field of imports for the fourth consecutive year, with imports amounting to Dh12.71 billion in 2013, i.e. 12.7% of the total imports of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, representing a decrease in the value amounting to Dh14.34 billion in 2012.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is in second place with a rate of 11.7% of the total imports of the emirate after it was ranked third in 2012 with 10.1%. Saudi Arabia has replaced South Korea, which became tenth.

Japan was ranked third with 8.3% of the total imports of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and Germany maintained fourth place in 2013 with a rate of 7.6% of the total imports.

The report addressed the foreign investments of The Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and explained that the development of the investment environment in the emirate and the enhancement of the attractiveness of investment opportunities have led to the growth of foreign direct investments in Abu Dhabi, therefore the FDI has increased from Dh52.23 billion at the end of 2011 to Dh60.9 billion in 2012.

The high growth rate confirms the predictions in the Economic Report of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi 2013, issued by the Department of Economic Development, which expected the continuous increase in the volume of foreign investments in the emirate during the coming years. The report was based on the efforts of the concerned governmental entities to develop and promote the investment environment in the emirate, according to the emirate's Economic Vision 2030.

The report pointed out that the main exporting countries for foreign investments to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi remained in the top ten places in 2012 compared with 2011 (and the same applies to the year 2010) with the exception of the United States of America which ranked eighth in 2011 but was out of the top ten in 2012 having been replaced by South Korea who ranked tenth in 2012 with a value of direct investments amounting to Dh1.02 billion.

Apart from these minor changes, Australia remained in first place in the list of countries investing in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, with the value of investments amounting to Dh8.23 billion by the end of 2012, i.e. 14% of the total foreign direct investments in the emirate compared to Dh6.16 billion by the end of 2011, i.e. 11.8% of the total foreign direct investments, noting that it ranked second by the end of 2010 with 10% of the total foreign direct investments.

France stepped up into second place by the end of 2012, with investment flows amounting to Dh5.89 billion, i.e. 9.7% of the total investments, after it was ranked third during 2011 and 2010, with a value of investments in Abu Dhabi amounting to Dh4.32 billion at the end of 2011, representing 8.3% of the total investments.

Japan has moved to third place with a value of investments amounting to Dh2.74 billion at the end of 2012, after it ranked fourth in 2011 with a value amounting to Dh2.89 billion. It is noted that despite its improvement in terms of rank, the value of its investments has slightly decreased in 2012 compared to 2011.

After it was ranked fifth in 2011, the Netherlands ranked fourth by the end of 2012 with a value of investments amounting to Dh2.41 billion, i.e. 4% of the total foreign direct investments in the Emirate. Libya meanwhile moved from sixth place to fifth.

For investments in economic activities, the report explained that real estate activities still constituted the highest percentage of foreign direct investments in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in 2012, where the volume of investments amounted to Dh23.36 billion, representing 38.4% of the total foreign direct investments in the Emirate during the same year, compared to Dh20.2 billion at the end of 2011, representing 38.7% of the total foreign direct investments. The rate of growth of the value of investments in real estate activities reached 15.5% in 2012.

The manufacturing industry sector has maintained second place by the end of 2012, with investments amounting to Dh11.55 billion, representing 19% of the total direct investments in the emirate during the same year. Foreign investments in this sector reached Dh9.18 billion by the end of 2011, representing 17.6% of the total direct investments in the emirate during the same year.

Finally, the water and electricity sector maintained its third place at the end of 2012, as the value of investments in this sector amounted to Dh6.74 billion, i.e. 11.1% of the total direct investments of the emirate, compared with 12.3% of the total foreign direct investments in 2011, which reflects a decline in the relative importance of the sector, despite the absolute increase in the volume of investments in 2012 compared to 2011. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Arab Oil and Gas 2015 to spotlight on new products in downstream technology to maximise investment opportunities in refining, storage and distribution of oil and gas

posted on 26/03/2015

The 19th Arab Oil and Gas Show (OGS) - the International Trade Exhibition for Onshore and Offshore Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Industries serving the Middle East and beyond, will offer a platform to discuss favourable prospects in the region's energy sector, forge new partnerships, foster relationship with existing clients, and throw the spotlight on new products in downstream technology to maximise investment opportunities in refining, storage and distribution of Oil and Gas.

Held under the patronage of the Supreme Council of Energy, the show takes place alongside WETEX, organised by Dubai Water and Electricity Authority (DEWA) , the region's leading event focused on Water, Energy, Technology and Environment, from April 21 to 23, 2015 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. WETEX and OGS 2015 are organised under the theme 'Synergy in Energy, at the Forefront of Sustainability.' Together, the exhibitions will debate on the challenges of energy conservation for the UAE's sustainable development.

"In line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, to promote Dubai's as a global hub for trade, finance, tourism, green economy and sustainability, DEWA organises WETEX as a yearly major platform to serve vital sectors in Water, Energy, Technology and Environment. The Arab Oil and Gas Show is an intrinsic part of our focus on the energy sector, as the exhibition also focuses and promotes innovative solutions and technologies. Over the past 16 exhibitions, it has made a significant contribution to the development of the water, environment, oil and gas, and conventional and renewable energy sectors. It has also succeeded in supporting the national economy significantly through agreements and deals signed during the exhibition," said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Managing Director & CEO, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority ( DEWA ), President and Founder of WETEX.

The region's dedicated Energy events will offer exhibitors a favourable business environment where they can have access to a more focused profile of trade buyers and industry specialists from around the region. In addition, it will empower exhibiting companies to generate higher quality leads that benefit their investment in this region, for years to come.

Anselm Godinho, Managing Director, International Conferences and Exhibitions (IC&E), organiser of OGS, said: "OGS is a networking and business-to-business event where current and potential international hydrocarbon operators and industry professionals will get an opportunity to meet key government executives and decision makers from the Arab World. It will facilitate discussion on new developments in the region's oil and gas industry, including operational and market challenges, new opportunities and technological advancement in the hydrocarbon sector."

OGS 2014 was a highly successful event which registered a footfall of over 8,000 industry visitors over three days and generated mass exposure through both regional and international media. From the total visitor turnout, nearly 46 per cent either placed an order with the exhibiting companies or planned to do business with them. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Government of Dubai establishes new company to focus on Port sector opportunities globally

posted on 26/03/2015

DUBAI, 26th March, 2015 (WAM) -- Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, PCFC, yesterday announced the establishment of a new company, P&O Ports, focused on developing and operating medium-sized, multi-purpose ports worldwide.

Wholly owned by the Government of Dubai as a subsidiary of PCFC, the new company, specialised in developing and operating marine and inland ports in markets with a need for well-managed trade and logistics infrastructure, is designed to support sustainable development in emerging economies.

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman of PCFC, said: "The new company's name, P&O Ports, reflects a rich marine heritage. We have the drive and ambition to take our company and this prestigious brand to new heights, identifying the next wave of opportunities for the development and operation of mixed cargo ports worldwide, particularly in emerging economies. This strategic initiative supports the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai's vision to achieve leadership in all spheres."

"We are pleased to announce that P&O Ports has signed MoUs to enter into preliminary discussions in with the governments of Madagascar, the Port of Berbera in the Republic of Somaliland and Albania to enhance their port infrastructure. The launch of P&O Ports complements Dubai's global investments in the port industry and diversifies its operations to include maritime terminals of all sizes," he added.

P&O Ports is specialised in delivering high-end unloading and handling services for multi-purpose ports around the world. These brownfield ports, predominantly handling general cargo and bulk commodities, are a source of great opportunity but tend to be uneconomic for larger operators. P&O Ports, as a newly created, specialised company, provides the flexibility to compete more efficiently within this sector.

Meanwhile, Dubai continues to reinforce its global presence as a world-class leader in the operation of large and medium ports through DP World, which today has a portfolio of more than 65 marine terminals across six continents.

Bin Sulayem added: "The wide expertise we have gained in port development and management is a good reason for us to move forward to strengthen our position as a global leader in this sector. Our comprehensive strategy at PCFC is geared to predict and prepare ourselves for world changes in global trade before they happen, through capacity building and partnerships that empower us to take a central role in shaping the future of the ports and logistics sector."

P&O Ports will concentrate on opportunities in emerging markets around the world. The launch is a strategic move based on a thorough, future-oriented needs analysis of the global ports industry. The feasibility study showed that the industry's future growth is not confined to large ports, with increasing demand for smaller port services being seen in emerging economies.

"PCFC has carefully picked the best people to run P&O Ports. I am pleased to announce Arif Obaid Al Dehail, Chief Executive Officer of Trakhees - a division under the Ports, Customs & Free Zones Corporation, as Chairman of P&O Ports, and Hassan Hadi, ex-first Deputy Chairman [formerly SVP Research and Development at DP World], as CEO of the company. They both have extensive experience in port development and management in Dubai and overseas, including broad technical and management skills that will help the company meet its strategic goals," he added.

Dubai's investments in the maritime services industry include a wide range of sectors. The most important is the development and operation of global ports, in which the emirate has established a global reputation through DP World. Dubai has also made increasing progress in other related areas through Dubai Maritime City, Drydocks World and Economic Zones World – the global developer and operator of economic zones, technology, logistics and industrial parks. Undeniably, Dubai's operations in such areas receive valuable, growth-generating support from Dubai Customs through the customs and trade facilitation services it provides to the industry. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Etisalat AGM approves full-year 2014 dividends of 70 fils per share

posted on 26/03/2015

The shareholders of the Emirates Telecommunication Corporation, Etisalat, at their Annual General Meeting held at the company's headquarters in Abu Dhabi, have backed the board's recommendation to pay full-year 2014 dividends of 70 fils per share and also approved a 10% bonus share.

After the release of the Group's 2014 annual results, the board proposed the dividend share, which is a reflection of the strong results achieved during the fiscal year ending 31st December.

Etisalat's net profit increase after Federal Royalty reached Dh8.9 billion. This represents a year-on-year increase of 26%. Furthermore, Etisalat's consolidated EBITDA for 2014 totalled Dh23.4 billion, resulting in an EBITDA margin of 48%.

Etisalat Chairman, Eissa al-Suwaidi, said, "2014 was an auspicious year for Etisalat. This is a landmark moment in our history and a considerable achievement towards our objective of being recognised as the leading operator in emerging markets. On behalf of our board members, I would like to express our gratitude to the UAE's visionary leadership for their continued support, our shareholders for their faith in us, our employees for their skill and dedication, and the millions of subscribers worldwide who remain loyal to our services."

Al-Suwaidi said, "We are proud of the achievements we've made in 2014. Etisalat's full-year consolidated revenues grew to Dh 48.8 billion, representing a year-on-year increase of 26%."

He added, "Etisalat is dedicated to ensuring that our shareholders benefit from the achievements we make. To this end, Etisalat's board, backed by the General Assembly, decided for the third year in a row to reward the shareholders with 70 fils per share. In addition, the Board of Directors proposed the issuance of 10% bonus share. I can assure you that these accomplishments stem from Etisalat's unwavering determination to continue our relentless pursuit of innovation and success.

"As illustrated by our acquisition of Maroc Telecom, we will continue to seize opportunities that support our overall strategy of adding optimal value for our stakeholders and subscribers and the communities we serve. With the addition of new markets, we will continue to diversify our income, our resources and our worldview, and invest in local communities, which will reflect positively on Etisalat's performance."

Ahmad Julfar, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat, commented, "With 2014's growth, fuelled by a major acquisition and partnerships with global industry leaders, Etisalat is in a strong position to embrace the changes and challenges emerging in the telecom industry. Our goal remains to provide a unique, exciting experience and the highest-quality services for subscribers. For the sake of customers and shareholders alike, we are not complacent with our current successes, but rather view them as the basis for future growth.

He continued, "Our acquisition of a 53% stake in Maroc Telecom established Etisalat as one of the premier telcos in West Africa. Maroc's subsequent acquisition of Atlantique Telecom and its operating companies has expanded our geographical reach as never before."

"In addition," Julfar continued, "we have further expanded our international activities by establishing agreements with leading global partners. Our goal of bringing the cutting-edge to all our markets, whatever that might be, for 19 unique countries. We continue our close partnership with the UAE government and its vision of smart government and smart cities. The work we conducted on 5G in 2014 in part serves our home market in reinforcing its position as a leader in these arenas. Our ultimate goal is to make cities like Abu Dhabi and Dubai examples for the rest of the world."

At the AGM, shareholders approved the appointment of the following as members of Etisalat's Board of Directors: Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Bin Nasser Alserkal, Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed Sultan Bin Suroor Al Dhaheri, Khaled Abdul Wahed Al Rostamani and Otaiba Bin Khalaf Bin Ahmed Al Otaiba.

This followed yesterday's announcement by His Highness President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to appoint government representatives to the Board of Directors of the Emirates Telecommunications Corporation, Etisalat.

The Federal Decree stipulated the appointment of Isa Mohammed Al Suwaidi as Chairman, along with Abdullah Salem Al Dhaheri, Mohamed Sultan Abdulla Ghannoum Al Hameli, Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim, Abdel Fattah Mansour Sharaf, Essa Abdulfattah Kazim and Mohamed Hadi Ahmed Abdulla Al Hussaini as board members. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Emirates NBD ranked among top 25 Global Banks on Social Media

posted on 26/03/2015

Emirates NBD has been ranked 25th among all banks active on social media in 2014 on a global scale.

Compiled by the Financial Brand, a USA-based online publication focusing on branding issues and providing strategic analysis and insight on a range of critical brand-building tools, the ‘Power 100' is the only like-for-like ranking of banks' success rate in social media platforms.

Additionally, the bank was ranked at 29 on the Top 100 banks on Twitter with over 41,000 followers, and 14 for most all-time YouTube views, in the independent survey that calculates ranking based on Facebook likes, Facebook engagement rate, Twitter followers, Tweets sent, YouTube views and YouTube subscribers.

Emirates NBD's Facebook page has reached unprecedented levels of customer engagement, reflecting the bank's efforts in strengthening its online presence by engaging directly with customers while transforming customer experience. The bank currently has a fan base of 330,000 on its official Facebook page, making Emirates NBD the largest followed bank on Facebook in the UAE.

"Earning a spot among the top 25 global banks on Facebook is a testament to our concerted efforts to engage with customers on real time basis while ensuring that they receive superior customer support," said Shayne Nelson, Group Chief Executive Officer, Emirates NBD. "While we remain committed to delivering on our promise of innovation, the bank's other social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn are helping us provide best-in-class customer service, at par with global best practices. Most importantly, our active presence on social media has enabled us to fast track the process of dealing with customer issues, leading to greater customer satisfaction." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


MICAD, UNHCR discuss cooperation

posted on 26/03/2015

Hazza Mohammed Falah Al Qahtani, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of International Cooperation and Development, MICAD, has said that the Syrian refugees issue is representing a challenge and a concern to humanitarian organisations and has called on the international community to enhance responsiveness and address its repercussions, especially its impact on a large segment of the Syrian people.

He added, "This calls for the concerted international efforts and activation of intervention mechanisms, as well as common international efforts, praising the active and supportive role of UNHCR for Syrian refugees.

Al Qahtani gave his remarks while meeting with UNHCR's Middle East and North Africa Director and Regional Refugee Coordinator for Syria and Iraq, Amin Awad and his accompanying delegation on the side-lines of MICAD's participation in the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference and Exhibition, DIHAD 2015.

He also added that the UAE, under its prudent leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has become one of the top countries which supports refugees' issues through the UAE's humanitarian and donor organisations, and proves the country's commitment in this regard.

He also drew attention to the growing challenges facing the Middle East, as the region is experiencing a surge in immigration and mass displacement of a number of populations of those countries, as well as the growing rates of refugees as a result of the accelerating political tensions, stressing the need to launch initiatives in this concern.

Al-Qahtani reviewed the UAE's efforts in the field of supporting refugees' issues globally, particularly the Syrian refugees issue. He also tackled the mechanisms and joint cooperation channels between the UAE and UNHCR in the light of signed agreements as represented by the UAE's US$5 million donations for Syria as part of the country's second pledge during the International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria in Kuwait, in 2014.

Sultan Mohammed Al Shamsi, MICAD Assistant Under-Secretary, attended the meeting. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Princess Haya opens 12th DIHAD, calling for more opportunities to help those less fortunate

posted on 26/03/2015

Societies create economic opportunities through a combination of education, health and social services, encouragement of innovation, and tax regulatory regimes that foster growth rather than frustrate it, said H.R.H. Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

"This is what has been done in the UAE – we provide an atmosphere that creates opportunities for individuals, corporations and other entities," said Princess Haya, who is also the UN Messenger of Peace and Chairperson of International Humanitarian City, in her address at yesterday's opening of the 12th edition of the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference and Exhibition (DIHAD).

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the theme for this year's conference was "Opportunity, Mobility, Sustainability: The Humanitarian Aid and Development Perspectives".

In attendance and accompanying H.R.H. Princess Haya were H.R.H. Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, President, Arab Thought Forum and Chairman West Asia-North Africa (WANA) Institute, Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of International Cooperation and Development, Dr. Hamdan Musallam Al Mazrouie, on behalf of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler's representative in the Western Region and Chief of the Emirates red Crescent, Ibrahim Bumelha, Cultural and Humanitarian Advisor of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and Chairman of DIHAD Higher Committee, President of DISAB, Elhadj As Sy, Secretary-General, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) as well as a number of local and international dignitaries.

"The first obstacles to opportunity for families in developing countries are malnutrition and the poor health that accompanies it," said Princess Haya, adding, "A seriously malnourished child will never grow to have the mental and physical capacity to succeed. Nutritionists tell us that the first 1,000 days are critical – if a child is badly malnourished then the game is over before it has begun."

Also addressing the conference Prince El Hassan bin Talal said that the region is facing an existential humanitarian crisis. "Refugees should not be thought of as just another digit. We need investment in resilience and investment in a knowledge base to ensure the region's long-term sustainability."

He called on the DIHAD attendees to place human dignity at the centre of their efforts to wage peace, and concluded by asking all attendees to consider issuing an appeal to help those most in need. "We need to swim upstream, against the tide. It shouldn't be about national or sovereign concerns, but about shared human concerns," he said.

Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development, said, "The UAE is aiming to achieve improved impact of our foreign aid by developing our foreign aid policy and strategy. The policy and strategy will aim to accomplish a number of objectives, principally to regularise UAE foreign aid, so that our forward expenditures will be consistent, reliable and effective, thus giving the opportunity for each dirham of UAE aid to achieve its maximum impact. Put simply, the more effective our aid becomes, the more lives are saved and improved."

"Innovation is the key to finding solutions to the most complex aid situations. In the spirit of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability, it is my pleasure to be here today and encourage all participants to approach the conference with open minds and creative lenses in order to come up with innovative, collaborative ideas for tackling today's most pressing humanitarian and development situations," she added.

Dr. Hamdan Musallam Al Mazrouie, speaking on behalf of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said, "We are counting on the growth of global social awareness about the environmental hazards, the inevitability of sustainable development, and the need to adopt to the principle of social responsibility in order to achieve a balance in the community. This is given that all members of the society, no matter how different they are, they all face the same risks and the same fate. We count on all of that to achieve a significant progress in building a better future for our children, to contribute to the march of human civilisation, to promote promising opportunities for humanity, and to serve their crucial issues."

Ibrahim Bumelha praised the efforts made by the UAE through participating in humanitarian projects and providing a helping hand in order to alleviate the suffering of the tormented and displaced refugees.

"The United Arab Emirates has achieved a special position among the list of worldwide countries that provide the maximum donations, and that is through extended aid, relief and humanitarian assistance projects provided by various organisations involved in this sector in the country. The city of Dubai has also become the capital of relief and humanitarian assistance activities. Yet, in spite of all these International humanitarian efforts, we are still in front of major challenges, in terms of natural disasters that hit much of the world, or the resulting disasters of conflicts and wars, which impose a great harm to communities. This requires us to unite and work together to alleviate the consequences of these harsh conditions caused by disasters, and that's the goal behind our meeting in DIHAD," he said.

As part of the programme, H.R.H. Princess Haya toured the exhibition, visiting the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Establishment, the Emirates Red Crescent , the Tkiyet Umm Ali, the International Humanitarian City, Dubai Cares, Dubai Police, the Al Jalila Foundation, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the World Food Programme, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation, the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department, and the Ministry of International Cooperation and Development.

DIHAD's topics for this year will revolve around the conference's sub-themes: "Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability" discussing opportunities in disaster reduction and preparedness, environmental protection and climate change, the forced displacement of persons, causes and consequences, and the topic of sustainable development after 2015. The conference will provide a platform for discussions around improving partnerships, and will host special sessions about sustainability of water and energy, the role of NGOs in the provision of humanitarian assistance in today's crisis environments, and the role of NGOs as partners in development assistance. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Mohammed bin Rashid launches second phase of Dubai Healthcare City project

posted on 26/03/2015

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, launched the Dh3billion to Dh5 billion second phase of the Dubai Healthcare City project, at the Dubai World Trade Centre yesterday.

The project, which spreads over land area of 22 million square feet, lies at Jadaf Dubai parallel to Al Garhoud Bridge.

Flanked by H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Emirates Group, HRH Prince Hassan bin Talal, President of West Asia-North Africa Institute, Sheikh Mohammed listened to the speech delivered by Raja Eisa Al Gurg, Deputy Chairperson, and Executive Director of the Dubai Healthcare City Authority.

She said the launch of the second phase of the Dubai Healthcare City comes in line with the UAE vision 2021 and Dubai Plan 2021, which would contribute to shoring up the national economy, adding that the City would further contribute to promoting the status of the UAE as a tourist media hub, especially in the Emirate of Dubai.

Al Gurg noted that the components of the new city include an ideal area of up to 25 percent dedicated to the medical and health services, while other 25 percent is dedicated to the hospitality and retail shopping, adding that there is focus on the educational side. She added that 35 kilometres have been allocated for corridors, pedestrian paths and spaces for sports to ensure healthy environment.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid met during the ceremony the child, Mohammed Ayoub, who was cured from the deformities in his legs that had prevented him from walking and exercising his natural life. The doctors and specialists managed at Dubai Healthcare City to treat the child who recovered completely and returned to walk naturally. Sheikh Mohammed congratulated the parents and wished the child a healthy life and future.

He commended the standard of training cadres, citing the ability of the City Board of Directors Chaired by his wife HRH Haya bint Hussein to keep pace with the latest development in terms of research, medical studies and recruitment of world expertise in this respect.

Among others present were Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Health, Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, Director of Dubai Ruler's Court, Lt. General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Deputy Chief of Police and Public Security in Dubai, Khalifa Saeed Suleiman, Director-General of the Department of Protocol and Hospitality, Eisa Mohammed Al Maidoor, Director-General of Dubai Health Authority and number of officials, academics and strategic partners. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Pink Caravan Ride 2015 concludes after free breast cancer screenings for 5,000 people

posted on 26/03/2015

The Pink Caravan Ride wrapped up its 10 day awareness campaign yesterday after screening more than 5000 people across all seven Emirates in the UAE. The initiative, a pan-UAE breast cancer awareness drive by the Friends of Cancer Patients charity (FoCP), has now screened approximately 35000 men and woman of all nationalities since its inception five years ago.

The nationwide horseback trek covered 243km offering free breast cancer examinations to 5,000 male and female Emirati citizens and expatriates, bringing the total number of people examined to over 35,000 men and women of various nationalities and ages, over five years.

On the final day of the tour, the riders started from Sheikh Zayed Mosque, riding through Zayed Sports City, Yas Waterworld and finished at Galleria after traveling 17.3km. The riders stopped to distribute educational brochures and pamphlets and direct community members to the mobile clinics to get free examinations conducted by medical and nursing staff.

In its 5th year, the Pink Caravan has been honoured with the participation and continuous support of the UAE's wise leadership who showed their support by participating in its activities and events. This year saw the attendance and participation of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, HH Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, daughters of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum , Sheikha Salama and Sheikha Shamma, Sheikha Alia bint Khalid bin Saqr Al Qasimi, and Sheikh Sultan bin Khalid bin Saqr Al Qasimi.

An elite group of official figures, renowned artists, media personalities and sportsmen also took part in the 2015 ride, including Pink Caravan ambassadors, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Thani, Chairman of the Department of Statistics and Community Development in Sharjah, and TV presenters, Saoud Al Kaabi and Ameera Al Fadl, as well as artist Fayez Al Saeed, and Marwan Jassim Al Serkal, CEO of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq). Other prominent figures included Hala Al Gergawi, Executive Managing Editor of 'Zahrat Al Khaleej', Mohammed Al Musharakh, Member of FoCP's Board of Trustees, and Olimpia Tabbash Mascolo, Director General of Retail Department at Mohamed Hilal group, founder and partner of "Anfasic Dokhoon.

A highlight of this year's ride was the participation of world-class jockeys, including Tadhg O Shea, Richard Mullen, Pat Dobbs, Royston French, Sam Hitchcott, Adri de Vries, Paul Hanagan, Dane O Neil, Harry Bentley and Oisin Murphy. The jockeys participated in popular championships in the UAE and the region, winning many titles.

Ameera BinKaram, President of the Board of Trustees, founding member of FoCP and Chairperson of the Higher Organising Committee of the Pink Caravan Ride, said, "I'd like to thank all those who contributed to the success of the fifth annual ride, including partners, volunteers, sponsors, supporters, riders, doctors, nurses, media professionals and community members, whose cooperation and interaction have contributed significantly to the success of the Pink Caravan Ride and enabling it to offer examinations to over 5000 people throughout the journey."

Ameera said she believed this year's major success was in helping to break the barrier of fear and concern in some community members who were reluctant to undergo examinations for fear of discovering they have the disease, adding that mobile clinics saw dozens of entire families who came to benefit from early detection screenings. "Even children contributed to the Pink Caravan Ride by encouraging their parents to have a free medical examination in order to ensure they have the best possible chance of living a long and healthy life. The Pink Caravan will carry on with its mission and expand its scope of awareness campaigns and free examinations to ensure that everyone can have access to its services in all emirates throughout the year, thanks to its partners and supporters and the people's growing awareness about breast cancer," she said.

Ameera paid special tribute to Sharjah Media Corporation and Sharjah Islamic Bank for their ongoing support, adding that the Pink Caravan has succeeded in turning cancer from a personal issue to a community concern with members of society working together to beat the disease.

The Pink Caravan organised a host of educational and awareness-raising events, most notably the "Pink Bite" at Galleries Lafayette in Dubai Mall where a new record was set for the highest price paid for a burger at Dh 25,960 (US$7,000) during a charity auction. In total the event raised Dh 72,180 thanks to Pink Caravan ambassadors who were divided into three teams to prepare burgers and sell them at the highest price.

To celebrate Mother's Day and raise awareness about the campaign, the Pink Caravan organised an event called "Mommy & Me", with the Women Sport Department at Sharjah Ladies Club and Children's Centres in Sharjah, at Al Majaz Waterfront. The event featured entertainment programmes for children and families and free mammogram screenings were also offered to mothers and girls who participated in the event. The medical and nursing staff presented instructions and guidance on breast cancer and ways of disease prevention.

Since its inception in 2011, the Pink Caravan has sought to raise awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer, and highlight the impact of the disease throughout the UAE. The Pink Caravan's efforts have contributed to dispelling misconceptions related to breast cancer, and providing financial and emotional support to breast cancer patients and their families. The Pink Caravan has played a significant role in reducing breast cancer's incidence, and diminishing its progression to advanced stages through free screenings that help protect the lives of citizens and residents across the country. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Saif bin Zayed inaugurates Customer Service Q-System at the Ministry of Interior

posted on 26/03/2015

Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, officially inaugurated the service delivery follow-up system (Q-System) at the Ministry of Interior. The new system, which includes a central operations room to electronically keep track of customer service centres and staff members' performance, is a first-of-its-kind in the world in the field of customer service, and is a valuable tool to oversee the provision of services across the various customer service centres.

HH toured the Vehicles and Drivers Licensing Department and the ICT Department, where he inaugurated the Operations Room, which is in charge of monitoring the key technical systems used at the Ministry of Interior. Sheikh Saif was accompanied in his tour by Lt. General Saif Abdullah Al Sha'far, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Interior; Major General Dr. Nasser Lakhrebani Al Nuaimi, Secretary General of the Office of HH Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior; Major General Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi, Director General of Central Operations at Abu Dhabi Police; Brigadier Ali Khalfan Al Dhaheri, Director General of the Headquarters Affairs at Abu Dhabi Police; and Brigadier General Dr. Rashid Sultan Al Khodr, Vice Chairman of the Legal Council at the Ministry of Interior.

Sheikh Saif invited the ministry's staff to exert additional efforts in the service of community members; to endeavour to improve the quality of services and to preserve excellence; stressing that "such practices would significantly contribute to upgrading police and security work to the highest levels.' Colonel Nasser Khadem Al Ka'bi, Head of the Customer Service Department, gave Sheikh Saif a detailed overview of the service delivery follow-up system project, which keeps track of customer visits and supervises the productivity and performance of customer service staff members. He said: "The system aims at achieving full customer satisfaction by regulating the flow of customers at service centres, to make sure they receive the required services promptly. It also allows performance measurement to ensure that customer service waiting time is no longer than 10 minutes, and that the average service processing time is less than five minutes, based on the number of customers served."

The system is capable of determining the best customer service staff members at these centres, and rating the best service centres with respect to performance, and demand for services. It is also designed to send out smart alerts to the Ministry of Interior, highlighting the need to establish new service centres or to upgrade the capabilities of the existing centres. It is worth mentioning that the service delivery criteria were established according to the best international standards, and embody the UAE Government 2021 Vision.

Colonel Al Kaabi said that the project is in response to the directives of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, and was implemented as a first phase at 44 service centres at the Naturalisation, Residency, Traffic, Licensing and Civil Defence sectors at the Ministry of Interior, and at the Comprehensive Police Stations Department at Abu Dhabi Police General Headquarters.

Adding further, he stressed that the project brings added value to the Ministry of Interior by developing best practices that regulate the flow of customers to service centres and improving customer experience during their face-to-face interaction with service providers. "The system allows customers to directly provide feedback to the ministry with respect to the received services and service providers' performance via a set of devices that are linked to the system. This would ultimately contribute to improving the work system and achieving the coveted objectives," he concluded.

Sheikh Saif urged the people in charge of implementing the Q–System to continuously upgrade the system by introducing the best techniques and improvements, and to implement it across all customer service centres and border ports at the countrywide level.

HH also inspected the modern facilities at the revamped Vehicles and Drivers Licensing and ICT Departments. These facilities, which meet all of the architectural, engineering and comprehensive quality requirements, will contribute to achieving the strategic objectives of police work and providing distinguished services to the public.

Furthermore, HH reviewed the renovations undertaken at the visited departments' sections and the operational framework for delivering excellent police services, in pursuance of the Abu Dhabi Police's strategy, aimed at improving the quality of services and achieving customer satisfaction.

During his tour on the Licensing Department, Brigadier Mohammed Khamis Al Khaili and Brigadier Mohamed Mayouf Al Ketbi, Head of Vehicles and Drivers Licensing Department, briefed HH on the workflow at the different sections of the department, which implement the best standards in the provision of services, consistent with the work system's developments.

Sheikh Saif also exchanged talks with a number of customers regarding the quality of services, their satisfaction level and the speedy processing of their transactions. He also toured the customer service control centre at the ICT Department, which responds technical assistance reports from the Abu Dhabi Police GHQ. His Highness was briefed by Colonel Mohammad Abdullah Al Zaabi, Deputy Head of ICT Department on the valuable role undertaken by the customer service control centre in promptly responding and handling assistance reports by directing them to the competent entity. HH also reviewed the technical malfunctions surveillance control room, equipped with the latest technologies.

HH also viewed the unmanned drone invented and developed by an Emirati staff member from the ICT Department, which can be used in traffic control. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


DoT Abu Dhabi concludes agreement with UK agency to improve heavy vehicles test standards

posted on 26/03/2015

In line with its efforts and commitment to improving the safety and security standards of the freight sector in Abu Dhabi, the Department of Transport, DoT, in Abu Dhabi has announced that its Freight Division has concluded an agreement with the United Kingdom Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, DVSA, which is aimed to benefit from the British Agency's experience in enhancing heavy vehicle inspection standards.

As a next step to this agreement, the General Directorate of Abu Dhabi Police will be implementing the new standards, according to DoT Abu Dhabi.

Mohammed Nasser Al Otaiba, Director of Freight Division at the DoT, said, "Safety is one of the most important requirements that the DoT and its stakeholders focus on. However, after a full documentation of the current inspection and test standards, we found that there is room for improving these standards. So, we wish to improve the situation by benefiting from the UK DVSA's extensive experience in this field."

Al Otaiba added that the DoT will then hold these test standards, which will continue to be implemented by Abu Dhabi Police and its sub-contractors, currently the Emirates Transport.

Alastair Peoples, CEO of the DVSA, said, "The DVSA is an executive agency of the UK Department for Transport, and our responsibilities include improving the level of road safety through the application of a set of test standards for drivers and vehicles. We are glad to transfer our experience and expertise to the Department of Transport in Abu Dhabi through our services which include licensing, inspection, training and implementation."

Mr. Peoples will visit the Vehicle Inspection Centre in Mussaffah, Abu Dhabi, in order to see the technical inspection processes. He will be meeting with a number of senior officials in the DoT and the Abu Dhabi Police. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Five public parks to open in Abu Dhabi

posted on 26/03/2015

People living in Al Shamkha and Al Adleh will soon be able to enjoy five public parks that are being built by the municipality.

The first, at Al Shamkha, which cost Dh5 million to build, is expected to open this month.

Four others at Al Adleh, which cost about Dh29 million in total, are scheduled to be completed this year.

Musabah Al Murar, acting general manager of Abu Dhabi City Municipality, said: "The landscape of recreational facilities and parks is always on the rise to keep pace with the development seen in Abu Dhabi.”

Mr Al Murar said the parks would have recreational facilities, including multipurpose playgrounds, football pitches and play areas for children. They will also provide picnic areas and barbecue yards.

He said the parks had been designed to ensure the efficient use of water and with systems that cut energy consumption.

Indigenous plant species will further decrease the use of water.

"These parks will be an appropriate destination for families thanks to the security, safety and health measures in place, in addition to the clean environment and multiple services that provide comfort to park goers and Shamkha residents,” he said. – The National -